Wide vs Narrow Tires – What Should You Go For?
While buying a new set of tires for your ride, it’s extremely tempting to go for slightly wider ones instead of the boring manufacturer’s recommended size. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, tires add to the looks of your car. Wide tires look mean and nasty and imposing and mean.
Some people even readjust the camber and give the bottoms of their cars a more low-slung look. And though as dumb as that might be in terms of practicality, it still looks cool. So making such a small alteration really shouldn’t hurt anyone? Generally yes but there are certain pitfalls with any changes you make as the recommended sizes have been planned out through extensive trial and error for the most optimal performance of your car. So before you make the decision on whether to choose stock or go the full hog, it is important to know what constitutes for what. Here are 6 things to keep in mind when choosing new tyres for your car.
Table of Contents
Weight Of The Car
The load you carry on your wheels directly determines the size of the tires you should go for. It very much relates to how much weight the vehicle has to distribute around the area of the four wheels. Considering a small vehicle, generally narrower tires would be more appropriate whereas, in the case of an SUV, bigger and wider tires will be suitable. In order to maintain traction, there should be adequate pressure along the entire width of the tire in use as they are in contact with the road while balancing the chassis of the vehicle.
It is true that wider tires have better traction. All the sports cars with their low-slung bodies have super-wide tires too. So it must be true for everyone, correct? Unfortunately no. Traction works taking into account the pressure the object applies per square inch of its width which further intensifies with speed and other factors. While a wider tire will give you more grip on the road, it doesn’t necessarily mean a strong grip. In order for the tires to grip the road securely, the weight should be proportionately distributed. So increasing the width of your normal car would naturally cause the vehicle to lose some amount of traction.
Handling and Brake Resistance
Another reason why racecars use wide tires is better handling especially where sharp turns are demanded. Larger tires have better maneuverability and cornering due to their wider tread faces and stiffer sidewalls. On dry pavement, a slight increase in tire width should be able to improve the turns of your car but that increment should be slight. However, wider tires may lower the braking distances you might get with your usual tires.
There might be times where you would have to drive on different types of terrain such as dry, wet, or even snowy. While not a lot changes on a dry track for your car, you may want to consider what to go for in drizzly or snowy weather. Wider tires generally provide more grip on a wet track but can be a concern when it comes to getting stuck in puddles.
Sound and Comfort
A wider grip on the road can make for a more peaceful and less noisy ride in comparison to narrower tires. The weight distribution on a wider area provides more even tread on the road and due to its bigger size deals better with the bumps that might come your way in small debris. Greater width also provides more cushion and the flexing of the sidewall of the tires, so if you care for a more quiet drive, go for the slightly wider ones.
One of the major downfalls you might find with wider tires is higher fuel consumption. Due to a wider area of contact, the engine will need to use more power to maintain speed, especially when driving uphill. This is a direct consequence of imbalance in proportions mismatch.
Buying the right type of tire is not just a matter of choice but encompasses a whole smorgasbord of areas that will dictate how your vehicle performs under different situations. It is quite a confusing case between style and practicality so you can’t really have your cake and eat it too. The best thing to do here would be to find your perfect middle. The combination of optimal performance and enhanced looks.